(Special – Singapore) Saturday, 14 February 2015 : Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 43 : 1-2, 4-7

He took me to the gate, facing east. Then I saw the Glory of the God of Israel approaching from the east with a sound like the sound of the ocean, and the earth shone with His Glory.

The Glory of YHVH arrived at the Temple by the east gate. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court : the Glory of YHVH was filling the House. And I heard someone speaking to me from the Temple while the Man stood beside me.

The voice said, “Son of man, you have seen the place of My throne, where I will place the soles of My feet, and live among the Israelites forever, and the people of Israel, they and their kings, will no longer defile My holy Name with their prostitutes and the kings.

Saturday, 14 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 8 : 1-10

At that time, soon after Jesus healed a deaf and dumb man, He was in the midst of another large crowd, that obviously had nothing to eat. So He called His disciples and said to them, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with Me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples replied, “Where, in a deserted place like this, could we get enough bread to feed these people?” He asked them, “How many loaves have you?” And they answered, “Seven.” Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them, and handed then to His disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish, so Jesus said a blessing, and asked that these be shared as well.

The people ate and were satisfied. The broken pieces were collected, seven wicker baskets full of leftovers. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand in number. Jesus sent them away, and immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

Saturday, 14 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 89 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 12-13

Before the mountains were formed, before You made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity – You are God.

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Saturday, 14 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 3 : 9-24

YHVH God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I ordered you not to eat?”

The man answered, “The woman You put with me gave me fruit from the tree and I ate it.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

YHVH God said to the serpent, “Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman, God said, “I will increase your suffering in childbearing, and you will give birth to your children in pain. You will be dependent on your husband and he will lord it over you.”

To the man, He said, “Because you have listened to your wife, and have eaten from the Tree of which I forbade you to eat, cursed be the soil because of you! In suffering you will provide food for yourself from it, all the days of your life. It will produce thorn and thistle for you and you will eat the plants of the field. With sweat on your face you will eat your bread, until you return to clay, since it was from clay that you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife by the name of Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. YHVH God made garments of skin for the man and his wife, and with these He clothed them. Then YHVH God said, “Man has now become like one of Us, making himself judge of good and evil. Let him not stretch out his hand to take and eat from the Tree of Life as well, and live forever.”

So God cast him from the garden of Eden to till the soil from which he had been made. And after having driven the man out, God posted cherubim and a flaming sword that kept turning at the east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

Friday, 13 February 2015 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the theme of the readings that we hear is sin and forgiveness of that sin, which had been the bane for all of us men. Sin came about because of the disobedience which we had shown to the Lord, when we chose to listen to the words and sweet temptations of Satan rather than listening to the will of God.

In the first reading, taken from the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we heard the account of how mankind fell into sin for the first time, the sin of our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, who listened to the wicked serpent, that is Satan, eating the fruits of the forbidden tree which God had forbid them to eat from. That tree of knowledge of good and evil is the reason why we mankind have ever since been exposed to evil and to sin, which is because of our inability to distinguish between the two due to the limitation of our intelligence, wisdom and abilities.

We were too greedy, brothers and sisters in Christ, and since the days of our ancestors, we have desired to seek many things that we ought not to have with us. As a result, we fall into a state of disgrace and separation from the love of our God. Sin entered into us, and we are rendered sick, blinded, deafened and made mute by the taints of that sin.

And yet, someone did not give up on us, no matter how fallen and wicked we have become, and no matter how hopeless we appear to have become. And that One is our Lord Himself, who loved us so much beyond everything else. He loves us all and He is concerned about us, worried about the fate which will be ours if we continue to walk on this path towards disaster, that is the path of sin.

That is why in the Gospel today we heard the story of when Jesus our Lord healed the deaf and dumb man, whom the Lord healed by the outpouring of His mercy and love, to open the ears and the mouth of the man and enable him to finally speak and listen again. Indeed, to listen to the wonders of the nature, all of God’s creation, and to speak of the Lord’s glory and everlasting life for all of us.

Too long we have dwelled in the darkness, and too long we have been corrupted by the snares of Satan. We have been blinded, made deaf and mute by the sins which Satan had tempted us with, and with our desires and greed piling up and growing, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for us to escape from the snares and the chains that kept us in this world of darkness. But, our salvation comes from the Lord, and He personally came to ensure that all of us be saved from the dangers of death and annihilation because of our sins.

In baptism according to the traditional and reverent rite, the same ritual is performed, following what Jesus did to the man, by touching the ears and the tongue with spittle, and saying the words ‘Ephphata!’ which means, ‘be opened!’. This is to symbolise that through baptism, our Lord had lifted us up from the darkness of sin, and by cleansing us with the holy water of baptism, He had unveiled from us, the true light that exists within us, dispelling all the veils and the falsehoods that Satan had planted all around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all recall our own baptism, the time when we have the waters of baptism being poured onto us. Baptism is the important moment in time when we are freed from the shackles of sin that hold onto us, and brought by the Lord to enter into His eternal light. Thus, as we remember our own baptism, let us all renew our commitment of faith to God, and awaken in us all the passion and desire to love Him more and more.

Let us all shun all forms of sin, repent and be glad once again, for our Lord had come to liberate us, and all of us who believe in Him, will not be disappointed, but will forever enjoy the grace and love of our Lord. God bless us all. Amen.